Why does the president pardon a turkey?

The wikipedia article is fascinating – this “ancient tradition” of pardoning a turkey actually goes back on to 1989. Everybody seems to think Hary Truman was the first to pardon a turkey, but it was actually the first president Bush.

Even after reading that article, though, I still don’t understand why the president pardoned a turkey. Was it supposed to show that he respected animals? (If so, why wouldn’t he just be a vegetarian?) Was it supposed to show that he didn’t want to waste food? (If so, why not donate the turkey to a hungry family instead of a petting zoo?) I’m assuming the act must have somehow been designed as a PR stunt to get more votes, but I don’t see how that works. Eating a turkey is simply not considered a bad thing by most americans.

So WHY did the president first start with the turkey pardon?

It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma:

…stuffed in a duck which is wrapped with a turkey and crammed in an ostrich…

Why? To make the headlines and look like a good guy. I can see no other reason.

It gives him a chance to play Oskar Schindler in an annual holocaust.

Most cooks try not to burn the turkey.

Since we already have an active thread with an almost identical title, I’m closing this one and directing folks over there.

It really does help us to keep things organized if you do a quick scan of active threads–or better yet, a search–before starting a new one.